Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Makes a Color Work?

Yesterday I met with a color specifier at the (soon to be old) Bellevue store. She was thrilled to learn about our different paint lines and she made a comment that got me to thinking...

She wanted to know MORE about what makes certain colors our 'go-to' colors in the palette. In other words, when we help someone choose colors, we often start off with our favorite shades to help facilitate the process of winnowing down the choices.

But what makes them our favorites, and why do they work?

It's more than a lucky guess, of course. As I am writing this, I keep flashing to C2 Paint's "Labrador". It's yellow. But it's not yellowy-yellow because it possesses a red undertone.

This hint of red pigment keeps the yellow from going too acidic, plus it contributes to uniting the color to other shades, ensuring that 'Labrador' will coordinate with a large variety of hues. And interestingly enough, 'Labrador' is ideal both as an exterior yellow (imagine a yellow farmhouse on the middle of the country with tons of crisp white trim and a deep green or rich red front door) and it plays exceptionally well as a kitchen yellow. Very unusual thaqt a single color can span both directions, when you think about the way a color reads outside compared to inside.

Yet, if you look at it in relation to the color chip rack or fan deck, you might think it's too peachy at first. But get it off the rack, and the color really starts to shine. Of course, there are other great yellows, too! Some of my favorites include: C2 'Moxie', 'Polenta', 'Shine' and 'Sugar Cookie' when you want that pretty pale hue.

When looking at any color, don't forget to try the color in the environment it will be used - ultimately, it's the relationship of your new color with all the other factors that make it work.

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